Oral History of Paula Neira

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Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries
Dr. Paula M. Neira discusses her experience in the navy and her work as a nurse and lawyer. After graduating with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in 1985, Paula was a regular and reserve surface warfare officer. After leaving the Navy, Paula began her career as a registered nurse. In November 2016, she was named as the interim clinical program director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health. At the time of this interview, she was program director of LGBTQ health and education, where she advocates for sexual and gender minorities. Paula discusses her relationship with her family and her experiences growing up in New Jersey, her gender transition, and her experience coming out as a transgender woman to her mother. Additionally, she discusses the homophobia and discrimination of queer and trans individuals in the US military and her role in repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. She talks about the physical and mental health resources for LGBTQ+ individuals in Baltimore and discusses how Baltimore can better support the LGBTQ+ community. This oral history was conducted by undergraduate students enrolled in Dr. Joseph Plaster’s Queer Oral History course, which was taught at Johns Hopkins University in spring 2022.